Wednesday, February 10, 2016

A Day in a Japanese School

Elementary students walking to school, Japan
photo credit: Everything, Japan

Ohayou Gozaimasu!

How does a typical day in a Japanese school go?

Based on my experience and on research, Japanese students and teachers spend way more time in schools than other countries. They spend really way more time and days in the school than in their houses.

Schools officially start around 8 am and officially end at around 3 pm. But this is only the "official" time. In reality, students come to school as early as 6:30 am for club practice. Don't be surprised seeing students all sweaty and dirty even before class starts.

Before Actual Classes

As I've said, some students have club practice before 8 am. Five minutes before 8, all students must be in their classrooms. There, they'll have either homeroom time or individual reading time. This usually lasts for 20 minutes.

A few days in a month, this 20-minute pre-class time is allotted for student assembly. If you're working in schools and you can't find anyone during this time, they're probably in the gym for the assembly.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Garbage Disposal in Japan

Even the garbage bins are cute
photo credits: Around the World in 80 Jobs

A jetsetting friend told me how Japan has the most "advanced" waste system. Citizens actually follow the the acceptable and "lawful" way of waste disposal. I'm using lawful because it's almost a crime not to follow the system.

When I first moved in to my place, the Japanese person who helped me had to ensure that I'm properly oriented with the Japanese waste disposal system. She took time to show me a chart of how to dispose household waste properly. She also accompanied me to a shop to make sure I buy the correct disposal bag. That's how serious they are with garbage. 

In the apartment building where I live, a staff regularly sorts out the tenants' garbage. This is to ensure that the garbage collector will get our garbage. In Japan, collectors have the power to decide which garbage to get or not. If a garbage bag is too messed up (meaning not sorted properly) the garbage man can leave it. I've read some instances where residents would rummage through the uncollected garbage to know the criminal. That is, the uncivilized one who doesn't know how to sort his trash. 

There's a stigma with foreign residents and garbage. From the internet alone, you can read numerous accounts of foreigners complaining that they were accused of being the garbage criminal, the uncivilized one. A close friend has personally experienced being subjected to scrutiny. There were only 4 units in her apartment building. She was the only foreigner. One of the residents knocked on her door a to return a garbage bag. It wasn't hers. But the old man insisted it was hers. She had to prove by pointing her garbage bag. This happened twice. 

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

The Unagi Pie Factory in Hamamatsu


Unagi is the Japanese word for eel. You know the long fish that doesn't look like a usual fish. 
Hamamatsu is apparently popular for its unagi dish and unagi pie.Yeah, you heard it right. Unagi pie. Eel pie. 

I was puzzled the first time I heard about unagi pie. To have a pie made of eel doesn't very appealing to me but it seems intriguing. 

In reality, unagi pie is just a usual cookie-like snack coated with unagi powder.  It doesn't taste fishy.It doesn't taste like an eel. It's sweet and cookiesh. 

You can find how unagi pie is done in the Unagi Pie Factory Hamamatsu. It's located in the west of Hamamatsu, off the busy central area.

Here's the complete address: 748-51 Okubu-cho, Nishi-ku, Hamamatsu-shi, Shizuoka, 432-8006. 

It's not an accessible place by public transportation. You can take a taxi from Maisaka Train Station. 

So what can you see in the factory? 
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